I wish to correct the completely misleading report in the June 11 edition of the Belfast Telegraph which repeated the ‘fairy story’ claim from the Irish News that I planned to introduce water charges from next April.
A cursory check would have revealed inaccuracies in this claim.
I do not have the power to implement water charges. They could only be introduced by the Executive if the Regional Development Minister decided to bring forward a proposal to that effect.
Furthermore, legislation would be required to bring them in and, as I am on record as saying, it would be impossible to do the necessary groundwork to ensure their introduction within the lifetime of this Assembly. Even if we wanted to, we could not introduce water charges by April 2011, as the Belfast Telegraph suggests I am planning to do.
I have made my position on water charges clear on a number of occasions. Before the Executive asks people to pay more, we must cut waste from the system.
Minister of Finance